Alan Simmons

Professor of Anthropology
Expertise: Archaeology, Extinction, Antiquities, Near East and Mediterranean


Alan H. Simmons is a distinguished professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology.

He has worked extensively in Cyprus, the Near East, the American Southwest, and elsewhere, focusing on Neolithic sites ranging from ‘‘mega-sites’’ in Jordan to smaller villages and non-residential artifact scatters. He is particularly interested in the colonization of the Mediterranean islands, the spread of the Neolithic, the interpretation of small sites, archaeological ethics, and the illegal antiquities trade.

He is the author of numerous publications, including a 1999 Kluwer/Plenum book, Faunal Extinction in an Island Society: Pygmy Hippopotamus Hunters of Cyprus; an award-winning 2007 University of Arizona book, The Neolithic Revolution in the Near East—Transforming the Human Landscape; and a 2014 Reader’s Choice book, Stone Age Sailors.


  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Colorado
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Toronto
  • M.A., Anthropology, Southern Methodist University
  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Southern Methodist University

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Alan Simmons In The News

The Vintage News
December 17, 2018
Nine thousand years ago, during the Neolithic period, culture in the PneiHever region of southern Mt. Hebron was undergoing a fundamental shift from being a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society.
December 4, 2018
Archaeologists have recently verified that an eerie stone mask that was unearthed close to the Israeli settlement of Pnei Hever in the West Bank is 9,000 years of age and is a Neolithic relic from a bygone era.
National Geographic
December 4, 2018
With their empty and enigmatic eyes and an apparent smile, the old stone masks of about 9,000 years found in the southern part of the Judean desert are considered a symbol of this region. Furthermore they are extremely rare. There are only 15 known. Therefore when the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced the discovery of a sixteenth mask, the news immediately attracted both the attention of archaeologists and that of fans. Raising at the same time doubts about the authenticity of these artifacts.
National Geographic
December 3, 2018
With their vacant eyes and enigmatic, toothy expressions, the 9,000-year-old stone masks from the area around the southern Judean desert are among the region’s most compelling and distinctive artifacts. Adding to that is their rarity: Only 15 examples are known to exist. So, when the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently announced the discovery of a sixteenth stone mask, it grabbed the attention of archaeologists and the public alike—but also revived a simmering discussion on the authenticity of these unique objects.

Articles Featuring Alan Simmons

petri dish and beakers containing liquids
Research | December 26, 2018
In 2018, faculty and students collaborated with one another and international colleagues on scientific exploration that sought to help people make sense of themselves and the world around them.
man at the top of a valley
People | May 1, 2018
Archaeologist Alan Simmons retires after 25 years of bringing the depth of time and big perspective to UNLV.
Alan Simmons
Research | November 1, 2005
Anthropology professor Alan Simmons explores how the social and economic changes that occurred 10,000 years ago in the Middle East forever altered the human experience